Charley Barnes Recounts His 10,000 Mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride – Leg 5 [PICTURES]
Leg 5 covers June 10 to June 11 and a meeting with the Bissen brother’s from Iowa who would meet us in North Dakota. Would today be a mishap free day?
Leg 5 – Miles 1726.8
Mike and I had to start late again because we needed to change the blood in our bikes since we were now over the 5000 mile mark. The oil change at Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson was originally scheduled for late afternoon the previous day but we just couldn’t make it in time so it was the first thing on our agenda, but they didn’t open till 9:00 a.m.
We got there early and waited for them to open the doors and told the guys what we were up to and needed to get an oil change done ASAP as the clock was ticking and at this point, we knew we were still in the game, not by much, and we would have to get on the road quickly, pushing our third overnight run if there was to be a chance.
It must have been about 10:00 a.m. before we got back on the road and whizzed through Coeur d’Alene, Wallace and in the blink of an eye, back into Montana rolling though Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Billings and into North Dakota by evening.
Some good friends of ours from Iowa, Dennis and Roger Bissen, were waiting in Dickinson, North Dakota for our meeting, and after grabbing a couple sandwiches, each, we gassed up and were back on the road, now as a foursome to be reckoned with.
The idea was to stop in Fargo, North Dakota but Mike and I decided on the way to Dickinson that we would have to make another all night run and informed Roger and Dennis that we wouldn’t be stopping in Fargo as planned and they were all in on running all night with us.
We hit Fargo, rounded the corner and headed South on I-29 towards Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Dennis and Roger would eventually peel off before heading back to their homes in Iowa. The four of us hit some pretty good rain into Sioux Falls and we’d hit more. The four of us stopped for gas, took a picture, said our goodbyes and put on full rain gear for the storms we all knew we’d would hit going East and West.
The journey from that point on was relatively harmless for Mike and I. We jumped onto I-90 and rolled East through Mitchell, Chamberlin and Wall with our sights set on Rapid City, South Dakota to end Leg 5. It was another major ride with over 1700 miles in the saddle and by this time, we were getting extremely tired but were NOT going to give up and we were dead set on doing whatever was necessary to get the lost miles back and get our 10,000 miles done in 240 hours.
We hit Rapid City, South Dakota mid-evening on Thursday, June 11, checking into our hotels and then calling Erik Jon Barrett for another conference call to see exactly where we were at on the time/mileage equation. The news wasn’t good…
Erik informed us that in order to complete the ride in the allotted time frame, we’d have to leave right then and ride the next 59 hours at an average of 60 mph to complete the ride. The three of us at that point had to face reality and come to the conclusion that as hard as we had tried, it just wasn’t going to be possible. Mike and I decided that we’d go get a nice meal and contemplate our next move.
During dinner, I told Mike that my intention was to do the 10,000 miles since that was what I promised but he was in now way obligated to stay with the ride. After ducking a few punches and glares, he told me exactly what I already knew:
Where you go, I go. If you think I’d leave you and this ride now, you better think again…
At this point, we would be totally off the grid and Erik would wing the next few days to get the 10,000 miles, even if it meant coming back a day late. Our priority at this point was to get to California to go see the SoCal boys who were a HUGE part of the Endurance Ride last year and even more so this year. Mike had never met them, but knew of them well through Facebook and he was determined to shake some hands and meet them in person.
The plan was set, what else could go wrong!